Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




The early 21st century is seeing unprecedented changes to the dating lives of American adults. Fewer than ever before are getting married and those that do want to marry, are waiting longer than ever before. This is breeding a new stage of development in our personal lives. It is a stage characterized by a prolonged gap between finishing school, becoming an "adult" and getting married or starting a family. It may be distinguished by years of being single and independent; simultaneously coming to terms with the responsibilities of adulthood, meeting romantic partners, casual dating, or courting potential lifelong companions. This is a time when American adults will enter, break off, and reenter multiple relationships with a variety of partners; a time when we may give up on romantic love, reject monogamy, or lose faith in marriage as a viable institution.

Scholars have argued that adults revert back to traditional forms of dating after leaving the "hook up culture" on the college campus, but this research study has revealed that dating after college is not traditional at all. Using a qualitative-inductive based approach, I interviewed 22 college-educated, working adults living in and around a major metropolitan U.S. city in the Midwest. The data has revealed that these graduated adults have abandoned many aspects of traditional dating scripts and hold on to remnants of college hook up culture, thus constructing a pseudo hook up culture after college. I refer to this social phenomenon as the "hook up hangover." The extensively examined college hook up culture does not disappear after graduation; in fact, it has left a significant lasting impression upon its participants as they continue on to their adult lives beyond the university campus.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.